BestFan blogger Sharon Bhella caught up with Autumn Hill while they’re on their Shake It If You Got It Tour. They talk about recording in Nashville, music festivals, and more. Check it out here!
Sharon Bhella: Hey guys! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat on the phone with me.
Mike Robin: No, it’s great!
SB: So you’re on tour right now and we’re also just in Mississauga, which is where I’m from. How has the tour been and how was that show?
MR: Oh, it was great! I’m from Toronto so it was a pretty close to home show. But honestly the crowd was fantastic and really every show we’ve done so far on this tour has just been amazing. The fans are just so wonderful, they treat us so well, they’re singing along and they’re dancing. It’s really just a big party and it’s a great time.
SB: That sounds awesome! And you’re on tour with Kira Isabella too. How long have you guys know each other and what’s it been like being on tour together?
Tareya Green: I think the first time we met Kira it was actually at a Mississauga show a couple years ago, and we just remained friends since then. For me personally, it’s so much fun to be able to tour with another girl. Normally it’s me and like seven other guys and so this is kind of refreshing. It’s been great, we’re sharing a band and it’s just like a little family out on the road.
MR: It’s an amazing thing because the Toronto music scene is so small. Some of the people in Kira’s band have played with us before, and yeah like Tareya said we’re now sharing a band. So it’s a bunch of friends just going out across the country together and its really a fantastic vibe.
SB: That’s great! So you two met in 2012 but you were both kind of doing your own musical thing separately at the time. Can you tell us a little bit about how you guys got together to start Autumn Hill? I believe it was at a Christmas party?
TG: [laughs] Yeah sure! So we were at a Christmas party and at the time Mike was kind of doing his own thing. I was pursuing more of a solo project, and we sat down at the piano in the music room that was upstairs and we just started playing “Favourite Mistake” and Mike was harmonizing. Essentially we were doing kind of an Autumn Hill thing before Autum Hill was Autumn Hill. And we turned around and literally everyone at the party was crammed into this tiny music room. We were like “Hmm maybe there’s something here!”
SB: That’s so cool! So you guys pretty much started writing music together right after that?
MR: Yeah from then on it was sort of like we realized that rather than our solo projects it was better to do this together. The sound that we were making, we sort of fell in love with. We had written “Favourite Mistake” and we just sort of continued writing duets, and it sort of just unfolded into a band. We loved the music, we loved what we were doing. I actually use to live on a street called Autumn Hill, and I was talking with Tareya about it and we thought that the name fit the sound that we were making, and that was how we named it and how it all got started.
SB: Oh that’s awesome! I love that name.
TG: Thank you!
SB: You also went to Nashville to record as well, what was that experience like?
MR: Oh my God, Nashville is amazing. There must be something in the water there! It’s everything you’ve probably heard about it. You literally can walk down Broadway, you know downtown, and every bar, like every three feet there’s another bar with another amazing country band or almost any kind of band really these days just playing. It was such a positive experience for us. We obviously got to make the record there, and we got to work with some of the most incredibly talented producers and writers and musicians, and you learn so much. You know we get to sit in a room with these pros, who are just laying their heart down and you just try to absorb as much as you can. It was so great. I think were going to try and do the next record the same way, some recording will be done in Nashville, some recording will be done in Toronto, because it really does influence the overall sound of the record.
SB: Yeah for sure. Now, random question but do you guys watch the TV show Nashville at all?
TG: I haven’t had a television for three years, so I wish! I want to watch Nashville and The Voice.
MR: I do watch Nashville, haha.
SB: You do! Do you love it?
MR: I do haha I just love seeing all the places. I love that it’s shot there and one of the coolest things about Nashville is that they always have actual musicians and writers on the show. So I love checking who’s going to make a cameo or something, it’s great. We got to play with a friend of ours from Canada who recently lives there now, her name is Lindsay, and she was on the show a little while ago, it was super cool.
SB: Oh wow! Yeah, when I hear your music, I love it and it reminds me of the show for some reason, which I also love. So, I thought I’d ask you guys that.
MR: Haha no, I love it, that’s great.
SB: So I know you’re probably going to be heading back there again to record the next album. Are you thinking of recording any new music soon?
TG: Yeah, we’ve actually been writing for the second album for a little while now actually. One of the songs on the record is called “Memphis” and we wrote it two years ago in Nashville actually. We’ve just been taking our time and having a lot of fun with the second record. We were just in the studio last week recording a new one called “Blame” and we have probably between thirty and fifty songs which we’re just kind of going over and trying to pick the best of the group. And actually on this Shake It If You Got It tour, we’re pretty excited because half of our set are the singles from the first record, and the other half of the set is brand new material from the second album that we’re debuting and we’re just you know, testing them out and seeing how fans like them.
SB: Awesome, can’t wait to hear them! And who would you say are your biggest musical influences?
MR: Oh wow, there’s a lot. For me it would be probably The Beatles, Johnny Cash, and then moving over to like Keith Urban and Brad Paisley, Vince Gill and Jimmy Hendrix, you know, like the real great guitar players.
TG: And I would say, mine are definitely Sarah McLachlan, that album ‘Surfacing’ saved my life, I have listened to that album a hundred million times. Celine Dion, mega fan! And of course, Shania Twain is just, like I just can’t say enough about her, she made me fall in love with country music.
MR: Yeah, so our tastes are all over the map, haha.
TG: Yes, haha.
SB: Yeah haha, that’s good though. Ever since 2013 you guys have been really busy and have played at lots of different music festivals. Which music festival are you most excited or really hoping to perform at in the future?
MR: Great question. Umm, we had a blast, there were so many really great ones. I think off the top of my head, I would love to do Boots and Hearts again. Or the Cavendish Beach Festival out in PEI.
TG: I’m from Calgary, and I cannot wait to play at the Calgary Stampede. We haven’t played at the Calgary Stampede yet, and I am just so excited to go home to Calgary and you know, be a part of the crazy ten days playing in my home town.
SB: That would be really cool if you could play at that! And then all your family and friends could be out there too.
SB: Do you guys think you’ll be playing on any tours or shows in the States sometime?
MR: We would love to. There’s nothing on the books yet as of now, but having spent so much time there, yeah, I mean we would love to as soon as we can. It would be another adventure.
SB: My last question for you is kind of our traditional BestFan question, and that is what would you say you are a BestFan of?
TG: Mines going to be such a weird answer. I’m gonna say pasta. Literally I could eat any form of pasta for every single meal and snack of the day. I can’t get enough of it. I have a problem, haha.
MR: I love camping. Every single summer for as far back as I can remember, I was at a camp, or I would go camping, or take a canoe out with a bunch of my friends and go across Algonquin in Ontario. I love the outdoors. If you check our twitter feeds, there’s a bunch of pictures of being just outside. I’m a big fan of like open water.
SB: That’s cool! I’m definitely trying to get into the camping thing, but it’s just bugs and mosquitos that make it not so fun.
MR: Yeah I get that, haha. The bugs can definitely get annoying, but I don’t know, there’s just nothing better than making a fire, and sitting with a bunch of your friends and you’ve got a guitar, and are all just hanging out. I love it.
SB: Well thanks so much you guys for chatting with me today! I loved talking with you both and am really looking forward to your show at Adelaide Hall on November 20th in Toronto!
TG: Thank you! And yes absolutely! We’re looking forward to that one too.
MR: That’s a hometown show, so I’m super stoked.
Be sure to catch Autumn Hill performing with Kira Isabella in Toronto next week at Adelaide Hall! Click here to get your tickets.
Also check out the band’s music videos below for some of their singles off “Favourite Mistake.”